Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family. Wolverines are naturally rare and persist at extremely low population densities. Very few individual wolverines have been detected in Wyoming. The current status and distribution of wolverines in Wyoming is largely unknown, and there are vast tracts of potential wolverine habitat in the high country of the state. Formal wolverine surveys and research have been applied in the Teton Range and Yellowstone National Park, but outside of these areas, detections are scarce.
Recent research has shown that the worldwide distribution of wolverines is closely tied to the distribution of persistent late spring (April and May) snowpack. Females dig dens in deep snow to birth and raise young until they are old enough to venture out of the den. Year round, wolverines tend to use higher elevations where snow persists and temperatures stay cool, typically above 8,000 feet.
Wolverine conservation has been restricted due to a lack of understanding of the fundamental ecology and distribution of this native species. Recent research is beginning to improve this situation, but more work is needed to understand which habitats are occupied and to understand demographic measures of population persistence.
Please help us develop a better understanding of Wyoming’s wolverine population by reporting wolverine observations and tracks using the form below. The images below showing how to estimate track gait measurements may be of help in differentiating wolverine tracks from other species.
Please email observations and comments to Jason Wilmot, of Wyoming Game and Fish.
Wolverine Observation Form
Wolverine Track Characteristics